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Indicators of biodiversity and conservational wildlife quality on Danish organic farms for use in farm management. A multidisciplinary approach to indicator development and testing

Noe, Egon; Halberg, Niels and Reddersen, Jens (2005) Indicators of biodiversity and conservational wildlife quality on Danish organic farms for use in farm management. A multidisciplinary approach to indicator development and testing. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 2005 (18), pp. 383-414.

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Summary

European farmers are encouraged to participate in conserving national biodiversity on farms especially remnant old, undisturbed small biotopes, forests and permanent grassland. It is foreseen that this objective cannot rely on regulation solely, and to succeed, farmers need to understand the goals behind it. A set of indicators have been developed and tested on eight organic farms as part of a ‘green-account’ based dialogue to explore whether the farmers were able and willing to include such indicators in their decision making. ‘Weed cover in cereal fields,’ ’was used as an indicator of floral and faunal biodiversity in the cultivated land, and ‘uncultivated biotope area’ on the farm was used as an unspecific measure of wildlife habitats. In uncultivated biotopes, herbal plants divided into functional groups - inspired by Grime’s stress tolerant plants - and low mobility butterflies were used as indicators of conservation value. The functional grouping, discriminating between ‘high conservation value’ plant species on one hand and ‘competitive’ and ‘ruderal’ species on the other, proved to be a useful tool for developing the often used indiscriminate species richness measures into indicators focusing on the few sites left with considerable remnant conservation value. At biotope scale the high conservation value species contributed almost 50% of the average species richness per biotope (9.5 out of 20.3 species), and between-biotope and between-farm variation increased when only conservation value species was considered. The reproducibility of the indicators was fairly good. The reactions of the organic farmers revealed that the ideas and goals of conservation of wildlife quality are not necessarily the same for biologists as for farmers (even organic) and the farmers expressed very different opinions on the idea that conservation of wildlife quality is a question of the absence of modern agricultural impact. However, farmers also stated that the information given by the indicators and especially the dialogue with the advisors had influenced their perception and awareness of wildlife. We conclude that mapping of wildlife quality combined with a dialogue process should be a key component of a farm wildlife management advisory tool at farm level.


EPrint Type:Newspaper or magazine article
Keywords:Organic farming; Weed; Biodiversity; Indicators; Conservational wildlife quality; Farm management, nature value, sociology
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy > Systems research and participatory research
Farming Systems
Environmental aspects > Landscape and recreation
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Farming Systems > Social aspects
Research affiliation: Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001) > II.9 Farm management, the environment and wildlife
Deposited By: Halberg, Director, PhD Niels
ID Code:2472
Deposited On:16 Aug 2004
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:29
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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